In February 2016, USAID will again support a number of companies from Southern Africa to attend MAGIC Las Vegas, the largest fashion trade show in the world. Based on the success of last year’s participation at MAGIC, USAID is organizing an integrated “Sourcing Africa Pavilion” where textile and apparel companies from Southern, East, and West Africa will jointly exhibit.
Working closely with the outgoing Assistant US Trade Representative for Textiles Gail Strickler, USAID and the Southern Africa Trade Hub recently facilitated the participation of the Hon. Joshua Setipa, Trade Minister of Lesotho, on a panel at the “Sourcing Journal Forum” in New York City. The African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was a particular topic of focus at the forum.
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles Gail Strickler visited Lesotho with USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub on June 16, 2015 to visit a number of apparel and textile manufacturers. During her visit she met with government officials, including the Minister of Trade and Industry Joshua Setipa and the CEO of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), Kelebone Leisanyane.
In close cooperation with Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub organized a buyer visit to Maseru, Lesotho from June 1-2, 2015. Production facilities were visited and various production managers were met to discuss and review the local supply chain, costing, quality assurance, social compliance, customer base, types of products available, and terms of payment. Initial discussions with manufacturers were fruitful and there is growing interest in trial orders.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub sponsored Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) seminars in Botswana and Lesotho this week to help ensure that textile and apparel companies in both countries are prepared to meet the social compliance requirements crucial to US buyers and sourcing executives. The two-day seminars on the topic were addressed by the President of WRAP and included factory site visits
In Lesotho, a women-owned company, Luqy Manufacturing, has just confirmed an order to supply 50,000 pieces per month of synthetic knit shirts and shorts for a year into the US market, and it is negotiating a much bigger deal with the same client.
The Trade Hub supported seven apparel companies from Botswana and Lesotho to participate in MAGIC, the largest fashion trade show in the world, in Las Vegas from February 17-19. The companies met major buyers, large retailers, and importers for the US market such as Target, Ralph Lauren, the Perry Ellis Group, Teamwork, Happy Chef, and Sanmar.
SADC has requested support from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub to carry forward their regional investment policy framework program. After five years of development in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU, the SADC Secretariat has completed a regional investment policy framework that will be formally adopted on July 22, 2015 in Johannesburg.
The Trade Hub is working with Lesotho to improve standards to facilitate export, improve the investment climate and increase trade in textiles and apparel.
Technical Support on Capacity Building for the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy and Trade Remedies: The Trade Hub has been requested by the US Embassy in Lesotho and USAID to provide technical assistance to the Lesotho Ministry of Trade and Industry in designing and delivering training courses on capacity building for Lesotho to comply with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted Change Management training for senior managers from government and parastatal organizations from April 28-30, 2015, in Swakopmund, Namibia. The training provided future members of the Single Window Technical Committee with a common understanding of effective change management strategy and how it will help to ensure smooth implementation of the National Single Window (NSW) program in Namibia.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub sponsored delegates from Malawi and Namibia to the 4th International Single Window Conference hosted by the African Alliance for E-Commerce (AACE) in Brazzaville, Congo from October 5-7, 2015.
As part of the technical assistance on standards to improve the effectiveness of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) national enquiry points (NEP), strengthen the regulatory framework for standards, enhance the standards development process and improve private sector involvement in standards development, the SA Trade Hub facilitated the formation of national TBT Consultative Committees for Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia.
On September 1, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub funded a multi-stakeholder workshop for the Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Trade and Industry on the formulation of a National Trade Policy. The purpose of the workshop was to make stakeholders aware of the country’s need for a comprehensive national trade policy document.
The SA Trade Hub met with implementing partner, Banyan Global, in Washington, DC, to brainstorm and discuss a number of key ways to continue to promote gender integration across the various aspects of the program.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted training during the week of August 10, 2015 for the Lesotho National Trade Facilitation Committee. The Lesotho Ministry of Trade and Industry requested that the Trade Hub provide the training, which covered the details of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub met with the Lesotho Minister of Economic Affairs, Kimetso Mathaba, in the Prime Minister’s Office to update the Minister on implementation progress for the Investor Roadmap for Lesotho. The meeting was requested by the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs during an Investor Roadmap audit conducted by the Trade Hub earlier in May in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Department of Policy and Strategic Planning (DPSP). The recent audit was part of a five-day Trade Hub program that included a one-day validation workshop and a workshop on Investment Reform Communications Best Practice.
In partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation and the Department of Policy and Strategic Planning, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted an investor roadmap audit in Lesotho after a similar exercise in Swaziland the previous week.
USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub held a two-day training session on “Writing of Standards for Standards Technical Committee Chairpersons and Secretaries” in Blantyre, Malawi, for 20 participants, from March 4-5, in partnership with the Malawi Bureau of Standards.
The Trade Hub, in partnership with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), conducted a three-day workshop on the running of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committees National Mirror Committees. The workshop was held in Maseru for a total of 15 participants from Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia and was facilitated by two ANSI and three ISO technical committee experts from the U.S. ISO is the largest developer and distributor of standards in the world. National Standards Bodies of individual countries can establish “mirror committees” to coordinate with international standards and disseminate information quickly to their national stakeholders
The first phase of technical assistance involved capacity building workshops in December 2013.
Maseru, Lesotho...In November 2014, the formal opening of the Lesothos's first National Enquiry Point (NEP) took place. Under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, member nations develop enquiry points to strengthen their legal and regulatory framework for standards in order to increase trade.